God Of Nothing

Life, The Universe, and Everything…

Let Us Not Forget

Our US Armed Forces

As the California sun begins to set over the expanse of the Pacific in spectacular shades of orange and pink, bringing an end to this Memorial Day. The last of the barbeque embers dying down to an amber glow in the approaching darkness, and our fill of burgers, hotdogs, and brew have moved us into the vertical position on the couch, let us not forget the true meaning of this day.  Let’s take a moment and give thanks to those that have sacrificed so much for our freedom, those men and women in our Armed Forces, past and present, who lost everything so that you and I could live free.  Those men and women that will never get the chance to see their children grow up, or get married and have a family or watch their parents grow old.  Those men and women deserve our thanks.  As do the men and women still in harm’s way.

This day has been labeled Memorial Day, but we should look beyond that label, and celebrate each day, even if it is just a thought, just a prayer, we must be thankful.  Blood has been spilled to pay the price of our freedom, of which we too often take for granted as we go about our daily lives without the slightest thought of how wonderful we have it in this world.  If you have any doubt, just turn on the news and you can see the hundreds dying in the Middle East just to have something remotely close to what we have here in the United States. We are truly blessed, truly lucky.

So from now on, if you see a service member, don’t be afraid to walk up to him or her and say thank you for serving our country, for taking this risk that so many of us have not.  Don’t be afraid to shake their hand and give them a smile.  If you know a parent, brother or sister of someone in the Armed Forces, extend your thanks to them as well, let them know you support them and their family.

To all the men and women in the Armed Forces, thank you for my freedom, for risking your lives and for sacrificing all that you do so my family and I live free.  And for all those who have died for our freedom, thank you, you made the ultimate sacrifice.

Remember, there are still men and women fighting for our freedom in foreign countries. If you have the means, join an organization that sends care packages, our soldiers need to know we still care for them.

May 31, 2011 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let Us Not Forget

Adobe Flash Player, Updating Yet Again. WTF?

Okay, so this is pissing me off.  Adobe Flash Player must be the most incomplete app on the planet.  Seems I get an update every week, if not more. It shows up just after I logon to Windows while all other services are starting and slows everything down.  I go through the process to get it installed, wasting time not doing what I want too.  Is it that perforated with holes that Adobe needs to do weekly repairs?  Microsoft Windows isn’t even updated this much. Do Mac users run into this same problem?

As a tech guy, I want all my programs up-to-date and working as intended, but this is ridiculous.  If I didn’t need Flash for so many things, I’d remove it completely.  None of Adobe’s other products seem to need so many updates.  Even Adobe Reader has fewer updates and its constantly getting hit by hackers as a vehicle to deploy their malware.

My question to Adobe is, “Why the hell isn’t there an option to just run the update automatically 5 minutes after I logon?”  This would be so much easier, an option for silent updating.  Don’t bother me with asking if I want the update, just update the damn app and be done with it.  Give me the option to choose.  If it’s a jacked update, I’ll live with the consequences.  I’m a tech guy, I know how to un-install a program and reinstall it.

My second question to Adobe, “Why can’t you do monthly updates with the emergency updates as needed, or is every update an emergency for Flash Player?”  With the exception of virus scanning software, most software companies only send out updates on an as-needed-basis or in the case of malware threats or a bad previous update, an emergency update is sent out to fix the problem.  Microsoft’s policy on updates is to do Security updates once a month and everything else is on an as-needed basis, as seen below.

Fast Facts About Microsoft Update (http://www.microsoft.com/canada/smallbiz/issues/sgcv2/security-guidance-centre/fastfactsaboutmicrosoftupdate.mspx) Note: This is for Canada, in the US Patch Tuesday occur every second Tuesday of every month.
Q: How often does Microsoft Update release new updates?
A: Security-related updates are released once a month. However, if a security threat occurs, such as a widespread virus or worm that affects Windows-based computers, Microsoft will release a corresponding update as soon as possible. Other types of updates can be released whenever they are ready. It’s a good idea to turn on Automatic Updates so that your computer can receive high-priority updates as they become available.

Adobe, on the other-hand, state Flash needs to be updated “Periodically.” What, really?  Periodically?  Windows Updates are done periodically.  Adobe Flash updates are verging on harassment.  Dictionary.com states the definition of periodically as “recurring at intervals of time.” So I guess Adobe’s definition is quite different than mine, again verging on harassment.

Flash Player Help (http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/help10.html)
Why am I being asked to install an update?
Periodically, Adobe updates Flash Player with new features or corrections and automatically notifies you so that you can install the updated version immediately. You are being asked to install the update because an update is now available, and your notification settings in the Settings Manager are configured to send you automatic notifications whenever an update is available.
Adobe Flash Settings Manager

Adobe Flash Settings Manager

For those of you that want to stop the automatic updates, you can open the Flash Player Settings Manager, select the Advanced tab the select the “Never check for updates (not recommended.)”  It’s true, it’s not recommended and I don’t recommend it, but you can always update manually if you desire.  Additionally, having an updated Flash Player allows you to continue to view online media without having to later do a large update and may also help to keep malware off your computer.

I guess, in my case, if I want to keep watching my YouTube videos, see animations, or play some online games, I’m just going to have to continue to take Adobe’s weekly rape of my computer.

May 30, 2011 Posted by | Technology | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

SyFy, The Killing of Science-Fiction

Stargate Universe - Spaceship Destiny

It seems that good Science Fiction is being killed in America. This month alone, has seen the announcement of the last episode of Stargate Universe, aka SGU, and the cancellation of V. These two science fiction series have a great history in television.  SGU has fifteen seasons behind it and V is a reimagining of the original Mark Singer series a lot of us grew up with.  Unfortunately, I will not be writing about V today but suffice it to say, I’m not too happy about its demise either.

Stargate Universe…

Stargate Universe is spawned from the Stargate Franchise which was first introduced to us in 1994 with the MGM movie Stargate and has since been a part of our lives as Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and the most recent vision, Stargate Universe which by all means is the best in the series to date. Additionally, two movies, Stargate The Ark of Truth and Stargate Continuum were added to the franchise, and two other movies that didn’t make it to the screen, SG Revolution and SG Extinction, both promised but never materialized.

Stargate Universe, a hard, gritty and raw imagination of the Stargate franchise that, for those of you that are not viewers, plays out onboard the Ancient’s spaceship Destiny. Members of the Icarus Base are forced to escape through the Stargate during a Lucian Alliance attack and find themselves stranded on Destiny with no way to get home, in another galaxy and travelling further away from Earth. It only gets better from there.

I’ve watched since the SGU Premiere with a skeptical view at first. I was a big fan of SG-1, but I lost touch with SG-Atlantis, so I was thinking that SGU would be a rework of Star Trek Voyager or worse, Lost in Space. But! From moment one, I was hooked. I saw something in SGU that I had not seen in anything from the Stargate franchise before. Darkness…from the way the scenes are shot to the sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat storyline to the complex characters. It is that wonderful darkness that keeps most Sci-Fi shows from becoming campy. It was true Drama.

Amid the darkness was just the right amount of humor, Volker’s sarcasm is outstanding, and the banter between Volker and Brody can have me laughing on the floor.  There’s some serious sexual tension between Col. Young and TJ, then TJ and Varro, leaving Young to watch, magic. And then there is Vanessa James, every young man’s fantasy, yes.  But it doesn’t stop there, this ensemble cast has more. Rush and Eli, the two most intelligent and complex lead characters, probably in all of Sci-Fi, have a tenuous relationship at best. Rush works on his own agenda while Eli moves toward the greater good of his shipmates. Lt. Scott and Chloe have both grown on me as they’ve moved into more adult rolls.  And lastly, Greer is one of my favorite characters for his self-sacrifice, his never-ending loyalty, and his growth as a person.  I really want to see where he and Park, and Volker were going to go in the storyline.

SGU is the kind of TV show that makes kids dream.  It’s smart, intelligent, and makes you think.  The storyline is a work of twisting turns that lead you in directions you are unprepared for, while still being enjoyable and easy to follow by the audience. As an audience member, I have become addicted to the story. I think even with only the two season, this show will produce future scientists, astronauts, writers, actors and more through the inspiration of SGU

Now for the fun part, the RANTS!

The Syfy Channel, in their great wisdom (Insert plenty of SARCASM!), decided not to renew SGU for a third season, blaming ratings.  Additionally, to help boost SGU, they moved it to a different time slot, twice, placing it up against major network shows with much larger audiences. And lastly, to add salt to the wound, they inserted a nice long break in the middle of the season to try to make us forget about SGU.  All these changes to make room for shows like Smackdown, Haunted Collector, Ghost Hunters, and a lot of other shows that are far from Science-Fiction, including Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen.  Now, if this has made you think “WTF? This has nothing to do with Science-Fiction, Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen?  This guy is a prissy whining wuss!” well, you are not alone.  Fans of SGU, Caprica, and Science-Fiction in general are running away from Syfy like it’s an acid tsunami. They are creating Save (Insert Sci-Fi show here) campaigns all over the Internet, with petitions to sign.  I’ve signed a lot of them and joined in the campaigns making my voice heard.  If you are a follower, check out my “Bring Back Stargate Universe” page for all the info to help in our fight.

I wonder if Craig Engler and the rest of the Syfy Execs feel anything like the NBC Exec that cancelled Star Trek?  By the way, little known Wikipedia fact I read, Lucille Ball (DesiLu) kept Star Trek from being cancelled after the first season, but once NBC moved Star Trek to a death time-slot, it was the end of Star Trek, much like Syfy has done with SGU.

So WTF was Syfy thinking!?!  Their entire success has been based on the premise that they are a Science-Fiction channel (once SciFi Channel before they sold out.)  Now Syfy, they feel they can gain a broader audience.  Unfortunately, they have pushed away the very audience that made them what they are today.  My thoughts are that it all comes down to money.  Evidently, there are more people out there that will watch half-dressed men throw each other around the ring then anything that is smart, provocative, intelligent, and worthwhile. Advertisers like stupid people.

So does Syfy think that their Syfy produced “B” movies are going to keep us tuned in?  Most of their movies are in the horror or fantasy genre.  While they too have their following, they don’t appeal to everyone that loves the Science-Fiction genre.  And so far, I seen very few of their movies that I’d watch a second time. Again, WTF!?!

So does Syfy know more about Science Fiction and entertainment than their audience?  I’m a fairly hardcore fan of Science Fiction, and have been for over 40 years much longer than Syfy.  I know what’s entertaining to me.  I know that if I want to watch a cooking show, I go to the Food Network and watch Giada, she’s hot and entertaining, unlike Marcel, again a prissy, whiny wuss. And if I want to watch wrestling, I go out to the garage, grab a hammer and pound a nail into my forehead.


I have watched Syfy since it first became available from my cable company.  I was one of many that wrote letters and made telephone calls to my local cable company to bring The SciFi Channel to our area.  When it was finally available, I paid extra to have access to SciFi so I could see all the shows I couldn’t see anywhere else.  That’s all changed now.

Syfy, our long relationship has come to an end!  I am not one of your stupid, mindless viewers! I don’t watch SHIT TV, and I’m not going too.  I no longer need your services.  I have BLOCKED the Syfy Channel on my cable box just like Syfy has blocked so many Twitter, Facebook, and SyfyOnline fans. I will not unblock it until there is closure for SGU and only if Syfy is the one involved in that.

With bittersweet sorrow and more anger and disappointment then I’ve ever known in a matter like this…

… Farewell old friend, I hope October’s Rescheduled Rapture starts in Craig’s office.

May 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Google Voice, Dial Me In!

Google Voice

I am constantly amazed by how many techno-savvy people I run into on an almost daily basis that have never even heard of Google Voice (GV), probably one of the best communication tools on the Net and its FREE.  Where else can you get a free local telephone number that you can configure to ring your mobile phone, your home phone, and your work phone, all at the same time, only Google.

Actually, I’ve never really been a Google fan, Gmail looks a little slapped together, I prefer Windows Live Mail, which has a downloadable client which is part of Windows Live EssentialsGoogle Sites, their free websites don’t look as professional as Microsoft Office Live Small business, although they are doing better and Microsoft has started charging for the once free service.  All that said, you’ve probably guessed I’m a Microsoft guy at heart.  However, Google does have some beautiful products that work better than anything else on the market.  Google offers by far the best search engine on the Net,Picasa is an incredible photo sharing package, and Google Voice, well read on.

I first heard about GV in July on 2009 when it was in beta.  A friend had told me about it and ten minutes later I was online signing up for an invitation and watching the promotional videos on their site.  It took three days to receive the GV invitation.  I was really excited and wasted no time signing up – today you can just signup for a GV number without waiting for an invitation – and choosing my new GV number.   Since then I have used GV almost daily from everything work related calls to selling items on Craigslist and all at the same time keeping my personal mobile number private.  I give out my GV number instead of my mobile number so much that I think only three to five people have my actual mobile.

Originally, Google Voice wasn’t Google at all, but a company called Grand Central, that charged members a monthly fee to use their service.  Google acquired them in 2007 and brought it online as a free service.  Now you can even port your GV number to some mobile carriers.  In my case, I like having both my mobile number and my GV number, but some may choose otherwise for any number of reasons.  Sprint customers will soon be able to use all of Google Voice’s features with either their Sprint number or in combination with a GV number.

GV comes with many useful and well thought out features. The main feature is that when your GV number is called, you can configure it to ring several phone numbers at once, such as your mobile phone, your home phone, and your work phone, as well as your Google Chat applet.  This is useful, especially if you have a more expensive mobile plan, although it can be alarming in the beginning when your mobile and desk phones start ringing at the same time and you’re not quite sure which to answer first.

One of my favorite features is the ability to set the hours your GV number is allowed to ring.  This is very useful for work related calls that you don’t want to receive while you are at home with your family or on the weekends.  Many companies are allowing the use of personal mobile phones for work use.  This saves the companies money by only having to pay their employees a stipend, great for them, bad for you.  It allows your fellow staff members access to your mobile number to call you whenever they want.  With a GV number, you just configure your times and those calls go directly to voicemail.  You can also set up groups within your contacts that allow you to set who is screened, which of your numbers are called, or who is sent directly to voicemail.

Which brings us to voicemail and transcribed voicemail that is sent to your email account.  The voicemail feature is basically just like any other voicemail system.  You call your number, listen to your voicemail, keep it, delete it, whatever.  The transcribed voicemail is a great feature.  Each time a voicemail is left; it is transcribed, and then sent to your email inbox.  The only drawback is that the transcription is done by computer and sometimes your message looks nothing like it sounds, but at least you do have a link to the original voicemail.

The last great feature I am going to mention is the SMS feature.  Free text messaging from the Google Voice web page, from your email and from your mobile phone, once configured.  This cuts down your costs if you have a limited text plan on mobile.

If you are like me, you have a smart phone and Google helps you there too.  There are versions of the GV apps for the iPhone, Blackberry, and of course, Android phones.  Third party apps are also available depending on your phone.  Google Voice offers so much and at the great price of free, you can’t beat it.  However, as a disclaimer, International calls do cost but are very cheap, and your mobile phone carrier will charge you for your calls because they are generally greedy but in the two and a half years I’ve used GV, I’ve never been charged for its use.  Just make sure you add your GV number to your A-List, Top 5 or whatever your carrier calls the few numbers you are allowed to call free.

Check it out at the link below.  Let me know what you think or if you are a current user, I’d love to hear from you as to how you use it.


May 15, 2011 Posted by | Technology | , , , , , | Comments Off on Google Voice, Dial Me In!

Saving Your Computer from Attack!

Okay, so you’re surfin’ the Net, looking at this article, watching that video, checking your email, and drooling over the hotties in the Entertainment section of your favorite news site. Somewhere along the line, you hit a website or open an unfamiliar email and unknown to you, a small application is installed on your computer. You didn’t see it happen, there were no warnings, no blinking lights, not one thing to tell you your computer has been compromised by malware, otherwise known as computer viruses, worms, Trojans, adware, spyware, or rootkits.

Whatever the malware is, it is almost always harmful to your computer, if not just truly annoying. It might cause your computer to slow down or it might wipe out all the family photos on your hard drive. It might join your computer to a botnet, a collection of infected computers, and run hidden in the background, automatically doing the bidding of its programmers such as executing a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on websites and or Internet services.

Unfortunately, most people don’t update the anti-virus software or they let the subscription expire. If your computer came with anti-virus software, such as McAfee, Norton, or another vendor, it is important to verify that those applications are updating the virus files daily. Also if you don’t turn off your computer at night, schedule a nightly quick scan and a full scan at least once a week to check for malware. If you do turn off your computer at night, schedule a time to run the scan once or twice a week. Additionally, learn how to use the anti-virus software; each vender has help files to answer any of your questions.

As it is hard for most anti-virus software to catch every instance of malware it is good to have a backup plan. Luckily, there are several freeware options out there. One of the best is Malwarebytes, which often finds malware that is passed over by other scanners. Other programs include Adaware, Spybot, IObit Security 360 and Advanced System Care, and a host of others. Each of these scanners is well made and can be found at Download.cnet.com. It is important to know that each of these free scanners need to be manually updated with the latest anti-virus files, the paid versions automatically runs these updates. Another, newer malware scanner is Microsoft Security Essentials 2011, which can be downloaded at Microsoft.com. It can be run in conjunction with most anti-virus scanners and updates automatically with Windows Update.

Computers are like cars in that they need to be serviced and cared for. One way to do this is to update your operating system. Windows has several versions, currently the oldest version that Microsoft still supports is Windows XP and it should be at Service Pack 3 (SP3) and Windows Update should be set to auto-update. Windows Vista and Windows 7 should also be set to auto-update. Microsoft issues security updates often and they should be installed to ensure the safety of your computer and the personal information on it. Hackers design the malware to attack computers that are vulnerable and usually those are computers that have not been updated.

Update your Internet browser. Whether you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or any other browser, make sure you are using the latest release. This ensures your Internet surfing is safer. If your computer is running a Windows XP operation system, Internet Explorer 9 will not work on it so you might want to look into switching to Firefox, Chrome, or Maxthon 3, which is the browser I use.

Lastly, never open an email or a file attached to an email from someone you don’t know. If you receive an unexpected email with an attachment from someone you do know, call them and verify that they sent it, especially if it seems suspicious in any way. Some malware comes as an attachment and once opened will show a file, play a presentation, or open a website and in the background install a malware program.

If you do find that your computer is infected with malware and you can’t remove it with any of the scanners above, seek professional assistance. If you’re lucky, you might have a relative that works with computers. If not, shop around and get references for local mobile computer technicians. Additionally, most computer superstores have mobile computer services or allow you to take the computer to them.

As always, back up your important files often, in case you need to restore that data.

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Technology | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Saving Your Computer from Attack!

A Day in the Life of the Unemployed Dad in San Diego

It is March 21, 2011, a Monday. I have spent the better part of the day searching the job boards for postings that apply to my technical background, sending out resumes, and applying for jobs online. In return, I see a few read receipts and a couple of automated emails that confirm my applications have been received. This is a common day for me. On average I send out five to seven resumes and apply for anywhere from two to seven jobs every weekday. If I’m lucky, I get a phone call from a prospective employer.

I am a 44 year old father of one and married, luckily to a working wife. At the time of this writing, I have been unemployed for 270 days or since June 24 which was my last day of employment, with the exception of the few side jobs I’ve worked fixing friends computers. I worked for a local city municipality in the Information Technologies Department. It was a good job that paid very well, almost $80,000.00 a year. Unfortunately, the economy, the State of California’s budget, and just bad financial administrator on the part of the city, kicked the city hard. I was among several permanent employees, some with 20 plus years on the job, who were laid off, in two separate lay-offs. Now, I make $900.00 every two weeks from my unemployment benefits. I’m not complaining, that’s still more than a lot of people make.

Since I was laid off, I have treated unemployment as my job. I wake up in the morning and get ready for work; I shower, get dressed, and grab my coffee. Then I make the long walk to work, my computer which is about 15 feet from the kitchen. I start my day. Of course, there are the distractions of my 3 year old daughter, who also needs to get dressed, go potty, and have breakfast. After she is setup for the morning, I get to work, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playing in the background. First it’s Craigslist, then Monster, TheLadders, USAJobs, CalJobs, Indeed, and several others, looking for the latest jobs that meet my search criteria and skill-set. I try to find the jobs I haven’t already applied for and frequently check my list of jobs applied for neatly kept track of in an excel document.

After several hours of job search, my daughter and I take a break. We go for a walk around our neighborhood, pick some dandelions, and enjoy the beautiful vistas Southern California has to offer. From my house, I can see the expensive and expansive estates of Rancho Santa Fe, a quite affluent area in north San Diego County. Back at the house, we eat lunch, and then it’s back to the grindstone. More job hunting for me and more play-time for my daughter. Often, I wish she could have more time in preschool to be with other children, but it’s just simply not affordable on my wife’s income and my unemployment benefits, so she gets to spend the days with me.

I check the job boards again, making sure I haven’t missed anything. I check my LinkedIn account, send out a few Twitter updates, check my email for the umpteenth time, and end my job search for the day. I read a few articles to try to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the Information Technology field. I take a deep breath. It’s around 4:00 PM, time to go to the park. I pack up my daughter, and off we go. For an hour or so, I wipe my mind of the worries of being unemployed and play with my daughter, talk to the other parents about being a parent, and watch her interact with other children.

Home again, its dinner, Momma is home, and the evening is upon us. Soon it will be a new day, and it will all start over again. More resumes to send out, more applications to submit, more waiting for that phone call that promises hope for a new job and a new beginning.

After 270 days of being unemployed, I am still hopeful and in good spirits. I know that it is only a matter of time before I am hired by a great employer, but in the meantime, it sure would be nice to feel that security and purpose of being employed again.

How are you doing?

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Life | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello world! Let’s run with it.

Hello Friends,

Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope you enjoy my insights into Life and Technology or whatever else comes up.  I look forward to your comments and connecting with you.  So let’s run with it.

God of Nothing…

Note: This is a mirror of my blog at http://godofnothing.blog.com/  However, only the articles are mirrored, comments are not. I haven’t yet decided which will be my main blog and which will be the mirror.  I’ll figure it out.

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Comments Off on Hello world! Let’s run with it.


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